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How Nigerian Missions Abroad Mistreat Nigerians

The recent incident in London in which one citizen Jeffrey Ewohime allegedly smashed seven cars at the Nigerian High Commission in London over the delay in releasing his passport has, expectedly, attracted much venom and condemnation on the poor young man. There is no smoke without a fire. Something must have prompted the unruly behavior of Ewohime and that should be investigated.

No doubt, the action is totally condemnable as no amount of provocation should warrant such disruptive behavior of Ewohime. For, I can bet that he was not the only Nigerian who faced the same situation, or who received the same treatment.

I have tried to see if I could get Ewohime’s own version of the story but couldn’t. What is available from official sources is the official version of the incident, which, for me, is not enough to get the entire picture of what happened and why.

According to sources, citizen Ewohime went to the Nigerian High Commission in London to collect his passport and was told that the passport collection time had closed at 1 pm. He reportedly insisted on collecting his passport and was told to bring his collection slip, which he couldn’t produce.

According to the Embassy, it would, of course, be wrong to hand over his passport to him without his collection slip. He reportedly left, agitated, and returned from a nearby hotel to destroy about seven cars, five belonging to the mission and two to visitors who parked nearby. His attempt to destroy the High Commissioner’s car reportedly failed because it is bulletproof. Ewohime, has, of course been arrested by the police for questioning and prosecution.

In her reaction, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, strongly condemned the action of Ewohime as “unpatriotic and unconscionable act of indiscipline.”

Dabiri-Erewa, after recounting the version of the report she got, yelled, “This is a despicable act, which must be condemned by all. Of course, the law must take its course.”

I would have been happy if this official reaction by Dabiri-Erewa had included Ewohime’s own side of the story but it did not. The reaction is one-sided. No one would expect the High Commission officials to give a story that would not be in their favour.

I took interest in this incident because I have had very bad experience from Nigerian missions in different countries.

To start with, anyone who has had anything to do with any Nigerian mission abroad will know that the narrative reported above as what led to the destruction of the cars by Ewohime is not completely true. It sounds like a cock and bull story. It is so mechanical as if a robot was the “person” in question.

This robot went to the Embassy to collect his passport. He was told that the Embassy had closed. He insisted on collecting his passport. He was told to bring his collection slip, which he could not produce. He left in anger and returned and destroyed seven cars. He was arrested.

Like I said above, anyone who has had anything to do with any Nigerian Embassy abroad, especially, when they had closed, will know that there is no truth in the above account. Once these embassies have closed, they have closed, period. They don’t attend to Nigerians when they are open talk less when they are closed. That is more condemnable.

If you are lucky, a security man, gateman or mai-guard (whatever it is called there), may tell you to go and come another day. If you are not lucky, nobody will talk to you; what you may see is notice on the notice board showing the office hours.

I find it extremely incredible that Ewohime was asked to bring his collection slip when the Embassy had closed. Who was it that attended to him after the Embassy had closed? Was it the gateman or who?

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Written by BJ

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